After the elections in Myanmar next month, the US will engage with the country anew over Rohingya repatriation and human rights violations in Rakhine, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said yesterday.
"We said we want Rohingya repatriation, not long-term plan of assistance for them in Bangladesh," he told reporters after a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Beigun at a city hotel.
The US official arrived in Dhaka yesterday afternoon.
Beigun is to visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi this morning and later have meetings with the prime minister and the foreign minister. He is expected to visit Kurmitola General Hospital and hand over some medical equipment to treat Covid-19 patients and hold a roundtable with journalists.
"The US deputy secretary said they have already imposed some sanctions. Now that there is a national election on November 8 in Myanmar, they will engage after the election on Rohingya repatriation," he said.
Beigun also expected that the neighbouring countries would engage more in addressing the Rohingya crisis in a sustainable way. The more than an hour long meeting over dinner touched on various issues, including trade and investment, the state minister said.
Bangladesh has invited US companies for offshore gas exploration in the Bay of Bengal.
Beigun said a US company was already supplying LNG to Bangladesh and he would look into how more energy companies can work here.
"It [selection of companies] happens through open bidding. It even happens through direct negotiation. If we get that sort of a company, we can go for that as well," Shahriar said.
"They are more interested on free trade agreement," he said.
He said the US would also look into how Bangladesh's private sector could be engaged in vaccine production and that when US companies can produce Covid-19 vaccines, Bangladesh would be sold those with priority.